Pet Safe Food

The holiday season is upon us and your furry friend will be befriending new people and getting reacquainted with old ones who are visiting from out of town. This typically means pets will be putting their best paw forward in attempts to woo your guests into handing out special table treats during their stay. While we support new and fun enrichment, it’s important to make sure any scraps they get a hold of are safe for them to eat. Below, we have compiled a list of human-grade foods that are safe for dogs and cats to consume, along with a brief nutritional explanation for each item. Feel free to keep this list handy to help educate your guests, and for future reference should your pet consume food that is not part of their diet. For a list of unsafe foods for pets to ingest also check out: Toxic Food and Plants.


  • Beef – plain cooked lean cuts are best
  • Chicken – plain and cooked only, remove bones due to choking hazard
  • Eggs – cooked only to avoid the risk of exposure to salmonella and other bacteria
  • Fish such as salmon or tuna (both are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease inflammation and help keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy), cooked and boneless
  • Lamb – high in zinc and selenium
  • Turkey – plain and cooked, remove bones due to choking hazard
  • Pork – plain, cooked only due to risk of bacteria
  • Shrimp – plain, cooked, high in phosphorus, antioxidants, and vitamin B-12


  • Almonds – only in very limited quantities, as they are difficult for dogs to digest
  • Cashews – plain, unsalted and  roasted, limit intake as they are high in fat
  • Peanuts – limited consumption as they are also high in fat, make sure they are unsalted 
  • Peanut Butter – only plain and unsalted, high in fat and can be too rich for some animals’ stomachs, so limit intake


  • Apples – remove core and seeds as they contain cyanide, high in fiber, low in fat, and contain vitamin A and C which are good for bone and tissue health
  • Apricots – remove pit, stem, and leaves because these parts are toxic, a good source of potassium and beta-carotene which can fight against cancer
  • Bananas – high in potassium and fiber, give sparingly
  • Blackberries – high in minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants
  • Blueberries – high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C
  • Cantaloupe – remove skin and seeds, contains vitamins A, B, and C
  • Cranberries – raw, cooked, or dried is fine, high in vitamin C, fiber, and manganese
  • Mangoes – be sure to remove skin and pit, which contain cyanide, high in vitamin A and C, fiber, folate, B6, and iron
  • Oranges – the fleshy part of the fruit ONLY as all other parts have oils that are toxic, high in vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and copper
  • Pears – good source of vitamin A, C, and K, fiber, and potassium remove seeds because they contain cyanide. 
  • Pineapple – limited quantities, remove spiky skin and core, high in vitamin C, manganese, folate, and zinc
  • Raspberries – a good source of fiber and vitamin C, quercetin, ellagic acid, and gallic acid, which are anti-inflammatories and could fight against cancer risks, limit intake
  • Strawberries – can have fresh or frozen, high in vitamin C, manganese, folate, and potassium
  • Watermelon – contains vitamins A, B-6, C, and potassium, 92% water so this is also a great way to hydrate your pet


  • Asparagus – chop into small bites and cook, high in vitamin K and E, zinc, selenium, manganese, potassium, and fiber
  • Bell Peppers (red, green, orange and yellow are all okay) – full of beta-carotene, vitamin A, K1, and E, fiber, folate, and antioxidants
  • Broccoli – high in fiber and vitamin C and K, limited amounts
  • Brussel Sprouts – cooked only, full of vitamin C and K
  • Cabbage – shredded over food in moderation, high in fiber, beta-carotene, may reduce cancer risks
  • Carrots – high in fiber, beta-carotene, biotin, vitamins A, B6, K and are great for cleaning teeth
  • Cauliflower – cooked or raw, a good source of phytonutrients which can reduce cancer risks, fiber, and choline
  • Celery – high water content, a great source of fiber, can freshen pet breath
  • Corn – plain cooked kernels, limited amounts: 1-2T per day, high in magnesium, fiber, and carotenoids 
  • Cucumber – high in vitamins C, K, and magnesium
  • Green Beans – fresh, frozen, or canned (sodium-free), a good source of iron, silicon, fiber, and protein
  • Lettuce – high in water content and fiber, cut into thin slices and sprinkle on top of regular food
  • Mushrooms – store-bought only such as portobello, be careful with mushrooms and never feed your pet mushrooms if you don’t know which species it is
  • Peas – a good source of vitamin B, potassium, and thiamin
  • Potatoes – cooked only because raw potatoes contain solanine which is toxic, high in carbohydrates, so limited amounts is best
  • Pumpkin – high in fiber and can help pets suffering from constipation and diarrhea 
  • Spinach – high in a large span of vitamins and minerals including folic acid, iron, calcium, B6, B9, and E, give in small amounts and avoid giving it to pets with kidney disease
  • Sweet Potatoes – cooked only, rich in vitamin A which supports eye health and immune system, as well as thiamine, niacin, and copper
  • Zucchini – good source of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium


  • Bread – plain white or whole grain, *never allow pets to consume raw yeast as it can lead to ethanol toxicosis which is poisonous and will likely cause death
  • Couscous – good source of niacin, manganese, copper, magnesium
  • Millet – high in manganese, protein, fiber, and B vitamins
  • Oatmeal – High in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, plain only – no flavored ones due to a high sugar content
  • Popcorn – plain air-popped only, contains riboflavin and thiamine
  • Quinoa – high in manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, a good alternative for corn, wheat, or soy
  • Rice – plain white or brown, white is higher in iron and folate and brown is higher in vitamins and minerals


  • Cheese – small amounts, hard cheeses are best (ex: gouda, cheddar, or swiss)
  • Milk – limited amounts and only if your pet is not lactose intolerant, plain only
  • Yogurt – plain greek yogurt is best, avoid any flavored yogurt as they are packed with sugar


  • Coconut or Coconut Oil – small amounts, contain lauric acid which combats bacteria and viruses, the oil can help with clearing up skin conditions like hot spots, flea allergies, and itchy skin
  • Fish Oil – can aid in decreasing inflammation, good for joint, fur, and skin health
  • Honey – only in limited amounts as it is high in sugar

You can now put your mind at ease knowing that you are able to provide informed answers to your guest’s questions about what they are allowed to feed your pets. Not only are these foods a safe treat for your cat or dog, but they are also great supplements to add to their normal diet routines. Feeding your pets these human-grade foods will help provide them with access to a multitude of necessary vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy for years to come. Cheers to a safe and fun holiday season for you and your furry friends! 


Credit: Robin Laclede